How do you begin to sum up a CD that exceeds all one’s expectations? The variety, depth, and intensity of Had To Cry Today absolutely floored me!
Joe Bonamassa possesses several amazing strengths: 1) true musicianship, 2) a strong, throaty voice that rounds out his tunes, 3) a passion for the music he plays, and 4) a perfect match of bandmates.
Not every musician is transformed when he picks up an instrument. Bonamassa is one of the chosen few. There’s magic between the man and his guitars (and he owns a lot of them!) But, it’s more than that. He brings out the deep resonating tones of his guitars and they bring out something special in him. He’s also been known to coax sounds from whichever axe he’s wielding that defy description. Each note carries a direct line to a place deep inside you.
Then there’s the vocals – simply put, they enhance his music, rather than detracting. Joe delivers a richness that’s lacking with so many others attempting to play guitar-fueled blues rock. Throaty, strong, and still somehow sweet, his words and singing ability pack a real punch. Crooning a ballad or belting out a mournful “so-o-oo looo-o-ong” on “Reconsider Baby”, you’re his. Not just for the song, but for the entire album.
Bonamassa’s passion for music is visceral. You combine his musicianship with his vocals and before you know it, he’s reached right inside you and made you feel what he’s feeling. He delivers such joy, angst, and reverence in his music, each song, each album becomes a “must have.” Every note seems familiar, yet somehow fresh. Joe bridges the gap between the guitar greats of the 70′s and the rock music of today. Familiar in the sense that he captures the feel of yesterday while bringing a new energy to a genre that serves as the template for what music should be.
Of the eleven tracks on this CD, seven are originals. The other four are brilliant covers infused with new life. The first track, “Never Make Your Move Too Soon”, is a great B.B. King tune. Joe maintains the essence of B.B. but offers more power, more drive. You can imagine yourself out on the road (and this band is ALWAYS ON THE ROAD), pushing off from one city to the next, playing your heart out for a hungry crowd.
Whether Joe’s playing at warp speed – with “Revenge of the Ten Gallon Hat”, “When The Sun Goes Down”, or “Faux Mantini” – or whispering sweet nothings in your ear – as he does with “When She Dances”, his music becomes a part of your each breath. If your heart rate isn’t affected by his music it’s time to see a cardiologist.
Perhaps the reason Bonamassa’s last few albums have developed so fully is that he’s put together the perfect band. You take Eric Czar – the five string bass God; Kenny Kramme – the mind-blowing powerhouse on drums; add in Joe, with his blistering guitar, and you have a tour de force. There’s not a single weak link on this team. Had To Cry Today is the album that brings together all their talents with a polished sound that can only come from having the perfect chemistry.
Their last album, Blues Deluxe, focused more on the Blues. And it was incredibly well done. The difference with Had To Cry Today is the obvious comfort the band has developed from having another year of touring together under their belts. They’re certainly willing to take chances and bring in a variety of influences – rock, jazz, blues, and country blend effortlessly, taking you on a musical journey that leaves you begging for more. Fortunately, you can hit replay and listen again.
Every song on Had To Cry Today brings something special to the table. The covers on this CD are wonderful tributes to the original artists and the original songs, written or co-written by Joe, are simply stunning. You’ll discover a “new favorite song” with each track.